Kimchi

Not that I’m a kimchi fan, in fact I’ve never tasted it before but I took a class on it. Why not, it was a little over an hour long and was 10 bucks from the university extension office. I hoped to gain a few tips on fermenting. I did not in general but I learned more in this particular area. Area that includes sauerkraut which I’ve made exactly 3 times.

The experience helped me gain confidence. I learned that 2 – 3 % salt to water ratio is what I’m after. Though the instructor was limited in experience of varieties, the internet is not. There are over 180 – hardly my goal to try them all.

I have learned fresh kimchi is pleasant tasting. Not something I’d get real excited about if I came across it on a menu but I’d not push it aside on my plate. The teacher had several to try. I found out that my lab partner on the other hand LOVES it. She was spending $5 for a small jar of it at the grocery store. I did not have the heart to tell her that processing kills all the good healthy stuff.

We decided on the kind of salt we wanted to try, smoked garlic. Then I chopped the cabbage and she weighed it carefully. I added 2 radishes tossing them into the bowl. OOPS! She immediately started to fish them out. I joined in of course as who was I to squash her confidence. She was going to do this with the precision of a research scientist. Little did she know she had teamed up with the dump cook queen but though it was not necessary to be so precise, it’s okay. If it allowed her to do it on her own next time, then joining in was the right thing to do.

A wise man said ” Being right isn’t as important as doing the right thing.” or something like that.

I’ve thought a lot about that. and once again it guided my decision. It didn’t matter that I was right or that the teacher said as long as you had a 2% salt to liquid over the vegetables, then we could experiment with the vegetables we chose to use.

But this cute lady is much like my sweet mother-in law who could not find small marshmallow having looked in every store in town so she had to go online to figure out how many small marshmallows equal a large one in a new recipe she was trying. She too follows recipes with exactness. She makes me giggle and I love her.

Miss Enthusiasm, my partner, filled me with delight and I learned about kimchi from her tasting experiences. She proudly told me she was part Asian and every the one to want to learn, I could not have had a better partner.

The key to Kimchi is the 2% salt ratio. This causes the water to be pulled out from the vegetables. I asked about Kimchi made with cabbage, apples, and lemon slices. The instructor had no idea. It sounded good to me. What about grains or nuts I asked. He knew not but that’s okay, the internet does and I learned the basics that night. Good enough for a start.

Maybe I’ll learn some great way to use kimchi like the top chefs from around the world. Probably not but it is another way to preserve vegetables, nuts, and fruits and it has been done for over 8000 years. Who knows when I might need it for food storage.

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As for being healthy for you, I’ll let you decide. From NCIB, a site I adore for its medical research, I learned of an animal study that showed that kimchi has antioxidant capacity, elevates your immune response, and anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effects. It has various unique microorganisms and bioactive components with an antioxidant capacity. Lactobacillus plantarum, a major player in kimchi ripening, chelates metal ions and potentiates the immune response. Furthermore, components produced during the fermentation process show anti-cancer effects by inhibiting the Ras oncogene signaling pathway and anti-atherosclerotic effects through lowering low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol oxidation. A component isolated from kimchi is 3-(4′-hydroxyl-3′,5′-dimethoxyphenyl) propionic acid, which reduces LDL oxidation. In addition, it was shown to reduce lesion size in the aortic sinus of apolipoprotein E knockout mice. In type2 diabetic animal models, ingestion of kimchi tends to lower fasting blood glucose levels and improves glucose tolerance.

Sounds almost like a wonder drug, doesn’t it?

Yes, kimchi is really high in salt and can raise hypertension levels if not eaten in moderation. I read there is a low sodium kind.  Moderation is the key. No problem here as it’s good but not like homemade pumpkin cake is good which is bad because of all that sugar. Then again a little kimchi to counteract all that sugar in the cake would be a good idea. Maybe you can eat your cake and have it too.

Keep in mind that there is a wide variety of kimchis and people have their favorite stage of baechu kimchi fermentation. Our instructor said to leave the mixture we’d made on the counter for 3 days at around 70 F. (like our house is that warm), well, in the middle of the day it is, but then you are suppose to put it in the refrigerator. It will last a long time there but it becomes more sour and better fermented as it ages. Doesn’t sound so pleasant to me. I think I’ll keep mine pretty fresh thank you. It has been 5 days and pretty pleasant tasting still.

After reading the NCIB’s report, I’m thinking this kimchi may just have to be shoved in there with my vitamin regiment of D-3’s. I could use a heavy metal flusher, glucose tolerance increaser, anti-cancer remedy  and immune system booster too. Where have you been all my life kimchi?

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